Dear teachers, school and camp directors, and parents,
On behalf of all our High Touch High Tech scientists across the nation, and around the world, I would like to thank you all for boldly pursuing our science experiences for your students and children.
This has been a very challenging year for us all. Our passionate scientists will continue to inspire our children to become the next generation of scientists that will develop the lifesaving vaccines and medications that have made the end of this pandemic tangible.
The pandemic certainly changed how we engage with your students, driven by our desire to stimulate imagination and curiosity, we took our unique and inspiring programs and pivoted to deliver them as science kits to the students. Our scientist would then lead the science experience adventure by Zoom. While our fun scientists enjoyed the Zoom delivery of our programs, we are all anxious to work with students in person, and watch their faces light up with discovery. While this pivot is working well, we are all looking forward to bringing our hands-on science experiences back into the classroom.
As I have long said, our High Touch High Tech programs can be delivered anywhere learners are and can engage in exciting ways to learn. Because of this we can stimulate young minds, activate new curiosity, and nurture budding imaginations. This has been our approach for the last 29 years. We all have seen that following the science is bringing us out of this pandemic, and sparking curiosity among your students and future scientists assures us the world will continue to become a better place.
Daniel “Dinosaur Dan” Shaw
Founder, High Touch High Tech
The scientist is motivated primarily by curiosity and a desire for truth.
Join High Touch High Tech in celebrating International Cherry Pit Spitting Day July 3rd!
Here in the glory days of summer, one of the best things about an already stellar season is the abundance of fruit, especially the abundance of CHERRIES! Enjoyed right across the world from The U.S. to Japan, this beloved fruit has a flavor that is welcome in almost any confection you can imagine, from ice cream to sweet liqueurs. The finest cherries of the harvest sell from upscale Japanese fruit retailers for 350 dollars a box. Cherryheads can even participate in the National Cherry Festival in Traverse, Michigan, which attracts half a million people a year, or test their skills at the International Cherry Pit-Spitting Contest, also in Michigan. (The world record for a spit pit is 30.6 meters, by the way!)
It is true that cherries are an iconic and beloved fruit, so much so that they have given rise to colloquial sayings such as “the cherry on top,” which makes the red cherry garnish on top of sweet treats a metaphor for the final flourish that perfects something. But where did that famous bright red cherry on top come from? The story of the Maraschino cherry that completes the world’s deserts, and makes its cocktails extra tasty, is actually an epic story of persistence and devotion that spans seven generations! Since 1823, the Luxardo family of Italy have put their name on the world’s most highly regarded brand of Maraschino cherries, still lovingly produced by the clan from blossom to bottle.
If it sounds strange to you that the bright red (or green) Maraschino cherries available at the supermarket, which are known to be bathed in 20th century concoctions such as sulfur dioxide, high fructose corn syrup, red dye # 40, and potassium sorbate, are so highly regarded, you are thinking of the wrong Maraschino cherry. Cordials and preserves made of the Marasca cherry had been popular in Europe for thousands of years, but it was Girolamo Luxardo and his wife Maria who perfected the first version that was sold widely as a brand in 1823. The original Luxardo recipe that continues to the present day boasts that “No thickening agents of any type and no preservatives are used, and the dark red color is all natural.” Cocktail and café culture around the world was just beginning to evolve in the 19th century, and the Luxardo company became the world’s pre-eminent cherry on top from that time forward. Sadly, 4 of the 5 Luxardo heirs were killed in WWII bombings, and the sole survivor escaped to Northern Italy with one single Marasca cherry sapling to continue the brand. As that one sapling was slowly growing into the new Luxardo orchards, however, the post-war ethos of “better living through chemistry” had intervened and the mass produced, dye-infused version that we now know as Maraschinos took hold around the world. Originally invented in the 1920’s as a cheaper version of Luxardo Maraschinos, the bright red, sugar-impregnated Maraschinos commonly bought today are really only chemically enhanced knockoffs of a much healthier, and by all accounts much more delicious, original recipe. For an interesting cherry’s-eye-view at how much the technological world has changed in 200 years, have a look at the videos below about how the two dueling Maraschinos are produced, preferably while enjoying a seasonal bowl of the fresh stuff (and maybe spitting a pit or two)!
If the idea of testing your skill at launching cherry pits
across the room sounds like a fun summertime challenge, look no further than our
Catapult at-home experiment! Check out the lesson plan below, grab your
supplies, and start experimenting with lift, force, gravity and more!
Join High Touch High Tech in celebrating National Catfish Day June 25th!
When you hear the word “catfish” it may bring up different associations in your mind. For many of us, “catfish” refers to an internet scam where a person is lured in by a fake dating profile and then targeted for money. If you are a Southerner, catfish refers to a delicious food served battered and deep fried, always with a side of French fries and a sweet tea. When you look at how versatile and widespread actual Catfish, Siluriformes, are, it seems perfectly appropriate that there are so many associations attached to their name. Sometimes underestimated as gross bottom feeders (they have been known to nibble on dead bodies) or a cheap trash fish, in reality, catfish boast a dinosaur-era lineage, a worldwide range, impressive adaptability, AND the biggest freshwater fish in the world, the Mekong Giant Catfish, Pangasianodon Gigas. There is even a species that can “walk” on land. Underestimate the humble catfish at your own peril, because not only are they tough, but they are everywhere, and they are BIG! (And yes, even the biggest ones are said to be delicious.)
Of course, we at High Touch High Tech would NEVER condone eating a Mekong Giant Catfish, because they are critically endangered. Catfish are known to get exceptionally large, with the Wels Catfish in Europe reaching 8 feet and the Piraiba of the Amazon reaching 7 feet. However, the Mekong Catfish is considered King of All Catfish because it is the largest catfish in the world, with one caught in 2005 tipping the scales at 646 pounds and measuring 9 feet! This incredible catch means that the Mekong Giant Catfish is the largest freshwater fish ever recorded.
Although catfish species can be found in rivers, lakes,
marine environments, sometimes even on land, and are hugely popular with
aquarium keepers in homes all over the world, the Mekong Giant Catfish has
sadly not fared well in the last few decades.
The Mekong Giant Catfish was once seen regularly in its home, the
massive Mekong River in Southeast Asia, but now scientists report they are
lucky to get a sighting once a year. The
bounteous Mekong River supported these enormous fish easily in the past,
because the river itself, which flows through six nations in Asia, is spacious
and full of diverse fish and plant species.
But the Mekong Catfish is a highly migratory species, and in recent
decades, dams and development along the river have especially affected its favored
spawning ground. Fortunately, scientists
like Zeb Hogan are committed to tracking and understanding the exact habitat
needs of the Giant Mekong Catfish, and are working with locals to support and
protect the precious Mekong Catfish. Check out Dr. Hogan’s efforts in the link
below and be sure to wish your local catfish a happy Catfish Day on June 25th!
If learning about unique aquatic species gets you excited, check
out our Sea Urchin Symmetry at-home experiment. Review the lesson linked below,
grab your supplies, and start exploring!
Join High Touch High Tech in celebrating National Hollerin’ Day June 19th
OORAH! If you instantly heard the distinctive sound of the US Marine battle cry in your head as you read that word, you know the power of a strong, powerful shout. Gentle face-to-face spoken communication is a wonderful thing, but there’s definitely something to be said for a full-throated holler so loud that it leaves rolling echoes behind to prove its point. People across times and cultures have woven the art of hollering into not only their fearsome military battle cries but into their day to day lives. Prior to the advent of phones (and cups attached by strings), communicating long distances was a problem that all humans faced. You might have heard of the Pony Express or Carrier Pigeon as examples of people’s ingenious solutions for long distance communication, but for sheer usefulness, how about the good ol’ fashioned Southern-style holler?
On the surface, giving a good holler seems like something mindless, but the “Hollerin’ Capital of the World” in Spivey’s Corner, North Carolina would like to assure you it’s not. As one champion hollerer of the “National Hollerin’ Contest,” once held annually in Spivey’s Corner, explains, a holler is a controlled sound that rural people used to communicate before the era of phones. Thought to have originated in West Africa and then brought over by enslaved people, Southern-style hollers vary between individuals, but they are designed as a pattern of sounds that send a distinct message. The best hollers have a rhythm and modulation that creates an echo and can be heard up to a mile away!
In addition, there are four basic categories of holler. There are functional hollers designed for
calling up and down between a house and a field to ask for things like water or
food. There are hollers designed to pass
a certain message, such as to announce oneself on a neighbor’s land. An especially important type is the distress
holler, to be used only in case of emergency or if someone finds themselves
lost. Last, there is the expressive
holler, which gives voice to the hollerer’s particular feelings at the moment. If you’re in a place where a few hollers here
and there won’t disturb anybody, why not celebrate National Hollerin’ Day with
an expressive holler of your own? You
might be surprised how far your voice can carry!
If you are feeling the “call” to holler, then we invite you
to try our Paper Cup & String Phone at-home experiment. See if your holler
will carry all the way to the other end of the string! Learn about vibrations
and how sounds carry! Grab your supplies & check out the lesson plan linked
Join High Touch High Tech in Celebrating National Flip-Flop Day June 11th!
Modern-day fashionistas may disparage flip-flops, and some doctors warn against wearing them constantly. But aside from a few objections, the archaeological and historical record both testify to the fact that humans the world over have been rocking flip-flops and sandals, flip-flops’ close relatives, since before civilization even began. The basic design of flip-flops and sandals, a sole covering held on to the foot with a rope or strap, is much older than the earliest known closed-toe leather shoes. The oldest sandals on earth were found in Fort Rock, Oregon in the 1930’s. Made of woven sagebrush ropes, the oldest Fort Rock Sandals date from about 13,000 years ago!
Another culture that had no problem with the flip-flop as fashion was the Ancient Egyptians, whose preferred style was anchored between the first and second toe just as modern people wear today. Many Ancient Egyptian sandals were made of humble woven papyrus, or more upmarket leather, but they also could be covered in gold and gems depending on the status of the wearer. It is said that the Pharaoh of Egypt even had a servant who did nothing but carry his sandals until needed. The Ancient Greeks were huge fans of the sandal, and so were the Romans, although their designs often involved more straps and foot coverage than the minimalistic flip flop design that Ancient Egyptians and present-day people appreciate.
With such a wealth of ancient footwear to draw from, which design and time period gave us the flip flop we use today? Look no further than Japan. Japanese traditional footwear has long been adapted towards the easy-on, easy-off design people prize in contemporary flip- flops. Japanese homes often had floors covered in delicate reed tatami mats that could be easily damaged by shoes, and so an abundance of flip-flop-like designs emerged, including the geta and the zori. After WW2, Japan’s decimated economy still held a large reserve of rubber from the Southeast Asian nations that Japan had attempted to colonize during the war. Japanese manufacturing began to build back by using the rubber to create mass-produced zori, and thus the flip-flop as we know it was born. Originally marketed as “Jandals,” a combination of “Japan” and “Sandals,” as the shoes gained popularity in the West, some time in the 1960’s they came to be called “flip-flops” for the ubiquitous sound they make when they strike the heel.
So go ahead and rock your flip-flops for National Flip-Flop
Day this June 11th! If anyone
criticizes your toes as they catch the breeze, just remind them that flip-flops
are one of the oldest human designs still in wide use. It is said that a great
design is timeless, and in the case of flip-flops, that is definitely true!
So, grab your flip-flops and head to the beach for this week’s at-home experiment! Put your toes in the sand as you make sand observations and seashell imprints! Check out our lesson plan, collect your materials and investigate cool coastal science…all while sporting your favorite flip-flops!
Join High Touch High Tech in celebrating Learn About Composting Day May 29th!
Were you raised to “clean your plate,” no matter
what? Does the idea of wasted food still make you uncomfortable? You might not like this statistic, then: The
United States wastes more food than any other country on earth. In one year, we waste 40 million tons of
food, which represents more than 30-40% of our total food supply. Most of the waste in US landfills is actually
made up of discarded food! What can we
do about this massive waste? Composting
A lot of responsibility for this massive waste goes
to you, the individual – if you are living in America, you waste an average of one
pound of food a day. It is estimated
that 43% of all food waste comes from individual homes, with another hefty
portion coming from the restaurant industry.
Aside from the ethical issue of wasting food while so many in the world
go hungry, food waste also spells trouble for the environment. There are many
reasons for food waste, but as “Compost King” Paul Sellew explains, no matter
what the reason, the fact is that bioavailable nutrients in food are being
locked up in landfills and not returning to biological systems that need
them. The constant loss of bioavailable
nutrients into landfills, where once there was a natural cycle of growth and
decay, depletes our soil rapidly and jeopardizes our ability to grow more food
in the future.
If you aren’t feeling great about having to toss
that extra muffin, and wanting to do something that is genuinely eco-friendly,
why not give composting a try? You can
turn food waste into productive, nutrient rich soil that will not only feed
plants, but also the microbiome of animals, fungus, and bacteria that make up
healthy soil. Even if it’s just enough
compost for a corner of your yard, you will be helping an essential natural
cycle complete itself and doing a small part to help the earth remain in balance.
Composting is quite easy to do! With a few simple
materials and your organic food waste, you can begin composting today! Participate
in this week’s at-home experiment, Compost in a Cup! See links below for our
lesson plan and tutorial video!
Join High Touch High Tech in celebrating Build a Musical Instrument Day May 22nd!
Close your eyes for a moment and listen to your environment. What sounds do you hear? Unless you are in the quietest place on earth, Stratfield Labs’ special Anechoic Chamber, your ears will easily tune to even the little sounds in your environment, and even little sounds can have big effects on us. When a sound is unpleasant to our ears, we call it noise. When it is sweet and pleasing, we call it notes, or music. Sounds are so much a part of our life that we don’t often think about the incredible process that gets sounds from their source to our brains, and the influence that certain sounds can have on us. So, what is a sound, anyway? And how does sound affect our imaginations, health, and moods?
All sounds are made the same way: they are vibrations. A vibration is when something moves back and forth incredibly fast, faster even than our eyes can see. These vibrations transmit from the object to the surrounding particles in the air. A vibrating object causes the air molecules around it to vibrate in the same way as it is vibrating. Then those air molecules cause the next air molecules to vibrate the same way, and so on and so on — all the way up to your eardrum, which is a membrane made to catch vibrations and pass them through the intricate anatomy of the ear. When they reach your ear, they are translated into electrical signals that can be understood by your brain. Sound is, basically, a vibration that travels across the air in a wave-like pattern, until it touches us with its energy right in our ear!
How many waves a sound vibration has in a given period is known as its frequency. Higher frequency sounds pack in many waves, while lower frequency sounds have less. Although still experimental and theoretical at this stage, there is some fascinating work from many different fields of science that indicate sound frequency and vibration may have great potential to benefit humanity. One of the greatest scientists of all time, Nikola Tesla, famously said that “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” Among his many projects, for example, was one to turn vibrations into electricity that could be easily shared across the world. Scientists on the frontier of sound as medicine, such as Dr. Lee Bartel, are even indicating that certain frequencies of sound, especially 40 HZ, may stimulate the fading neurons of Alzheimer’s patients into better function over time. There is even evidence that certain sound frequencies may destroy cancer cells.
Although the potential of sound to impact things like global
energy and human health are just beginning to be understood, it’s a fact that
the vibrations of sound can have a powerful impact on our well-being. Just think of a time that a loved one’s voice
touched your heart, or a song on the radio changed your day from a bad one to a
If you want to explore the amazing world of sounds, vibrations, and frequencies for yourself, check out our at-home Harmonica experiment and make some good vibrations with your own home-made instrument!
Join High Touch High Tech in celebrating National Garlic Day April 19th
not actually an Avenger, Wonder Woman or Batman, garlic does have so many
health benefits, that it deserves to be considered a superhero. It might
as well be wearing a cape!
we first encounter garlic, it really does not have much of a smell, that is
until you cut into it, slice it, or crush it! Once crushed or sliced the odor
is extraordinarily strong. When we cut into a garlic bulb, thio-sulfinite
compounds in the garlic turn into allicin. Allicin is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal,
it is believed to lower bad cholesterol by inhibiting enzyme growth in liver
cells, and it helps nitric oxide release in the blood vessels relaxing them and
This improvement in blood pressure can help ease the strain on the heart, making garlic a very heart-healthy choice. Garlic’s antibacterial properties also makes it a great treatment for acne and cold sores, as well as general health. On top of all that, garlic also contains a ton of vitamins and minerals, including manganese, potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, calcium, beta-carotene, and Vitamin C. Garlic is a true superhero!
Garlic is a species in the onion family, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, scallions, shallots, leeks, chives, Welsh onions, and Chinese onions. It is native to Central Asia and Northeastern Iran and has long been a common seasoning worldwide, with a history of several thousand years of human consumption and use.
(2600–2100 BC) (the indigenous peoples of Southern Mesopotamia) were actively
utilizing garlic for its healing qualities and are believed to have brought
garlic to China. From China, it later spread to Japan and Korea.
ancient China, garlic was one of the most used remedies for many ailments since
2700 BC. Then, owing to its healing and stimulating effects, garlic was
recommended to those who suffer from depression.
In ancient Indian medicine, garlic was a valuable remedy used as a tonic to cure a lack of appetite, common weakness, cough, skin disease, rheumatism, and hemorrhoids. In the Vedas (the most ancient Hindu scriptures) garlic was mentioned among other medicinal plants. Indian priests were the first physicians and pharmacists to utilize garlic.
have even discovered garlic bulbs in the pyramids of Egypt. Ancient Egyptians
were known for their healing skills, preparations, and remedies.
Ancient Israelis made use of garlic as an appetite stimulator, to avoid
starvation. They also used garlic as a blood pressure enhancer, body heater,
parasite-killer, and more! The Talmud, the book of Judaism, prescribes a meal
with garlic every Friday.
Ancient Greeks also valued garlic although those who had eaten garlic were
forbidden entry into the temples. Perhaps due to their stinky breath! During
the archeological excavations in the Knossos Palace on the Greek island of
Crete, garlic bulbs were discovered dating from 1850–1400 BC. Early Greek army
leaders fed their army garlic before major battles. It is an interesting fact
that while nowadays some athletes take a wide spectrum of dangerous performance
enhancing drugs, Greek Olympic athletes ate garlic to ensure a good score!
to Theophrastus (370–285 BC), the Greeks offered gifts to their Gods consisting
of garlic bulbs. In his works, Hippocrates (459–370 BC) mentioned garlic as a
remedy against intestinal parasites. He recommended garlic for regulating the
menstrual cycle and to fight against seasickness. He also recommended garlic as
a remedy against snakebite (for that purpose they drank a mixture of garlic and
wine) and against a mad dog’s bite (for that purpose they applied garlic on the
thousands of years humanity has used garlic to enhance the flavor of food as
well as for medicinal purposes. Although pungent and somewhat unpleasant to
smell, Garlic’s positive health benefits are undeniable. Have you had your
So, as we celebrate National Garlic Day this April 19th, let us know the superhero role Garlic plays in your life!
And since Garlic has such a recognizable smell, we invite you to participate in this week’s At-home Experiment, Smelling Bee! See if you can determine which scent belongs to its corresponding food item! Check out the lesson plan below, grab your supplies, and start smelling!
Join High Touch High Tech in celebrating Mushroom Day April 14th!
In a soup, they’re a pleasure. On pizza, a game-changer. Grilled on a bun, they are a vegetarian’s best friend. Mushrooms are one of mother earth’s tastiest foods, but did you know they could also… SAVE THE WORLD? Researchers like Paul Stamets are teaching the truth about mushrooms, and the more we learn, the more it seems that mushrooms are like a swiss army knife of amazing functions! They are an essential, if invisible part of every plant’s growth. They have cancer-destroying properties, and they even give bees the strength they need to pollinate crops.
Mushroom expert Paul Stamets has made the fungus among us his life’s work, revealing that mushrooms are so much more than the “fruiting body” that we purchase in a store. The hidden part of any mushroom is what’s known as the Mycelium, a massive underground network of tiny fungal threads that permeate practically all soil. In fact, even a few cubic inches of soil contain miles of Mycelial threads. These threads do important chemical work, secreting enzymes and compounds that allow them to digest nutrients and grow, but also serve as food for the countless multitudes of tiny invertebrates in the soil. In this way, Mycelium is essential for soil health and the healthy growth of plants, especially their roots. A Mycelial mat of one single fungus can spread for miles, linking its aboveground “community” in a network full of nutrients, moisture, and protection as it goes. The largest known Mycelial mat is the Armillaria in Oregon. It is one fungal organism that spreads for 3.7 miles, weighs 35,000 tons, and is thought to be 8,000 years old! The hidden side of mushrooms is so nourishing, connective, and helpful that it has been characterized as “nature’s internet.”
The Mycelium may be one reason that mushrooms are so packed with compounds that have been shown to have immune-stimulating, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial compounds. Ancient cultures the world over have long revered medicinal mushrooms, from the prized Lingzhi mushroom of Chinese Medicine to the powerful healer called Agarikon, identified by Ancient Greek doctor Dioscorides. Paul Stamets intriguingly points out a reason why: in humans, our stomachs are on the inside, and secrete compounds and enzymes to help us digest and use nutrients. The “stomach” of mycelium is on the outside, in the soil where they lay. Over 650 million years of evolution, Mycelium and its diverse fruiting bodies have adapted to release compounds that keep away harmful bacteria and toxins, allowing them to digest the soil in peace and health. Their adaptation is a treasure that provides us with mushrooms like Turkey Tail, which has been shown to have strong anti-cancer properties, or Cordyceps, which aids in circulation and heart health.
It’s not just humans who benefit from mushrooms. Research is still ongoing, but it has been
observed that Bees also use certain kinds of mushrooms to stay healthy. In a strong, undisturbed old-growth
ecosystem, mushrooms flourish in many places, as do bees. Currently, Bees are
under attack from pesticides, mites, and viruses that, if unchecked, could end
up spelling doom for our entire agricultural system. Stamets noticed that Bees seemed to love to
congregate on certain kinds of low-to-the ground mushrooms, and on further
research found that the protective, anti-microbial compounds in mushrooms
spelled better health for the bees. He
is formulating a “Mycelial Honey” that Bees can eat and share with their hive,
thus assisting their survival in this toxic modern world! In Science, it is always assumed that there
is more “under the surface” of phenomena we see, and mushrooms and Mycelium are
an excellent example of the bustling, vibrant life that happens right under our
And with so many varieties of mushrooms, we thought it would be
fun to capture prints of various mushrooms to examine and compare their
“footprint”. Take a look at our Fungi Prints at-home experiment and see if you
recognize any of the fungus among us! Lesson plan and tutorial video links
Join High Touch High Tech in celebrating Zoo Lover’s Day April 8th
The Kitchens of Zoos – otherwise known as Commissaries – are some of the busiest kitchens in the world and serve a VERY demanding clientele!
Ever had to cook a dinner for a large number of guests? And if some are vegetarian? Maybe some need low sodium? Some are on a raw food diet? Only paleo for others? Lovingly catering to hundreds of different species’ exact needs is second nature at the major zoos of the world. Feeding the amazing animals in zoo collections is truly a 24/7 job! Animals take no holidays and preparing food for hundreds of species at a time usually requires preparation day and night, not to mention enormous freezer and storage capacity. Plus, ALL the food is 100% restaurant grade, the same as you get at your favorite dining spot!
A Zoo Commissary is run with precision, receiving shipments by night and preparing enormous quantities of fresh food by day. One single elephant in the Cleveland Zoo, for example, eats 100 to 400 pounds of food each day. Because animals are precious and many are endangered, they are fed with constant attention to their nutritional needs and their overall health. Food in zoo commissaries is restaurant grade, but it is also prepped with the same attention to hygiene and cleanliness as any restaurant. Cutting corners on any animal’s food, whether it is a Lowland Gorilla or a Desert Jerboa, could have huge consequences for the animal, and therefore cutting corners or stretching the food budget in any way is just not done. The Cleveland Zoo splashes out one million dollars every year to feed their treasured residents!
Keepers at the San Diego Zoo (and every major zoo) are fiercely dedicated to their charges, and so every day in San Diego, meals are carefully prepped for 800 different species, 3,000 animals in total. Food, whether it be fruit, insect, hay, or a whole carcass, is often left in the enclosure for the animal to forage as they please. On a very special day, like a birthday or holiday, sometimes the beloved animals are directed to special treats made just for them. From a watermelon “cake” for a tortoise to frozen “shrimpsicles” for big cats, watching healthy, happy animals devour their treats is surely something that makes every zookeeper’s day! Why not treat yourself this Zoo Day, and watch some happy noshing animals for yourself?
If you’re a fan of zoo animals like we are, check out some
of our zoo animal related at-home experiments! Communicate like a whale with
echolocation, rattle like a snake, or even hibernate like a bear! See links
below for lesson plans and more!